As I am sure a lot of Americans are aware of the negative comments made by African American women in reference to Gabby Douglas‘ (USA Olympic Gold-Medalist) hair. How saddened, and ashamed I am to even write this article.
Of course we know there was nothing wrong with Gabby’s hair! But the comments made by African American women stems from years of wigs, weaves and other aparatus’ to hide their natural hair.
Specializing in all hair textures, no matter what race the hair was attached to, I felt it was my duty to reflect on this moment.
If a women spends all of her time grooming a wig or a weave and never styles, or cares for her own hair, she is ultimately rejecting her hair texture and to some extent helping to reinforce the belief that textured hair is difficult, etc
Whenever an African American client, child, women or man, would come to me for services to alter their texture, they had to tell me why?
When I became a hairdresser, I wanted to use my talent to help erase some of the stigma surrounding textured hair.
I did not want to be known as the weave god. No pun intended!
For me, a healthy scalp and healthy hair couldn’t be achieved by consistently smothering the scalp on a daily basis, before it becomes fragile, limp and eventually lead to other health problems, i.e. scalp fungus, hair-loss, etc.
Hairdressing was never about the money, the money was the icing on the cake. It was about the message, the effect I could have on changing a life behind the chair, and helping to develop self-esteem.
Having a license, I knew I could save a life. Despite ethnicity, shape, or diversity of hair texture my clients would learn to accept their texture and care for it, as well as wear great style.j
It was not that I could not perform weave services. It was a personal ethical standard of excellence.
I wanted to share with every person I touched that “YOU are Beautiful just the WAY you are”. I would teach my clients with textured hair the value and versatility of their hair and help them achieve bouncy, long, healthy hair, or wear their curls proudly.
African American clients i serviced knew that they would have to go somewhere else to put a wig or weave on, because what I had to give was about self-esteem.
Culturally we are breeding our own definition of what is and isn’t beautiful hair in America.
When you have a young African American girl being commented on because of her hair despite winning a Olympic Gold Medal, clearly there is a problem!
Salons are the keys to changing images of hair beauty. If you want to send a message, change ideas, and start people talking, you do it in salons.
Every licensed hairdresser in America was trained not on race, but on all hair textures. Whatever title a salon or stylist may have assumed after beauty school was a preference, “don’t know how to do your hair type” was an option.
Breaking this cycle starts in every salon home, in America! It’s up to us to diversify BEAUTY in imagery so no young girl like Gabby Douglas, has to be criticized for having non-straight hair.